Andrew Chats with Geyser

Andrew Chats with Geyser

Andrew from Brooklyn called up Minneapolis-based indie rock band Geyser to chat this week. Formed out of the liberal arts hub the midwest–Macalester College–the group are set to release their first record this fall, and had a lot to say about it. Read below:

Andrew Becker: All right, so I am here with the band Geyser. Do you guys want to introduce yourselves?

Corbin Dodd: Sure. I’m Corbin Dodd, I play bass.

Ryan Dugan: I’m Ryan. I play guitar.

Juliet Kelson: Juliet, I play guitar as well.

Jack Henry Lickerman: I’m Jack, and I play drums.

Andrew: Awesome. Now talk to me a little bit about the origin of Geyser. Are you all Macalester people or were some of you just hanging around the local scene? Because you coalesced, despite being from all over the country, living in the Twin Cities, correct?

Corbin: That’s correct. Well, yeah, a little bit of both. Ryan’s in Minneapolis, the rest of us, I guess had our origins in St. Paul, at least when Geyser formed. Yeah, I think the band formed just about a year ago maybe to the day.

Ryan: Juliet and I initially jammed the spring of 2017, and we worked on a couple tunes we had and then didn’t play for a long time, and then we started playing again one year after that. So I guess the origins date back to when I graduated from Macalester, and we’ve just kind of pieced it together since then.

Jack: I met Ryan in 2017 when I started at Macalester. We had another band before Geyser that has since parted and then Ryan asked me to join Geyser, and then we started playing together.

Juliet: We’re all kind of connected to Ryan in different ways.

Ryan: What an honor, wow.

Juliet: We were each in different bands, and we played a show in Chicago where our bands shared a bill, and that’s how we met when we realized we both went to Macalester.

Corbin: If we’re all sharing stories of how we met Ryan, I met Ryan in the spring of 2015 at the Macalester music department–we both studied music–and I played bass on a song for the concert that he was performing in, and I played bass on parts of his senior recital, so that’s how we know each other.

Andrew: Mm hmm. What song was that? Was that a song that you wrote Ryan?

Ryan: Well, with Corbin, the first time we really jammed on a big show with my senior recital, which was a lot of jazz tunes and some originals. It wasn’t anything too consequential, I suppose. We started doing more rock stuff after we graduated.

Andrew: Would you say that jazz background has any influence on your current sound? Or how did your current sound come to be? Do you all share similar tastes in music?

Corbin: Good question.

Juliet: I think we all have a lot of overlap. Um, I actually–the other band I’m in is country music, so it’s very different. But I grew up listening to like a lot of classic rock tunes though.

Andrew: Anyone in particular that was influential for you?

Juliet: I mean, growing up with my mom, our favorite bands to listen to when we were kids were like Dolly Parton and then Led Zeppelin and The Who. So a big combo.

Andrew: Great. I would love to see Dolly Parton and The Who collabing on something together. That would be really fantastic. What next?

Corbin: Yeah. You know, I would say that we all can have a shared fondness for The Beatles and Brandi Carlile…Mitski was actually the genesis of our name, “Geyser.”

Andrew: Really? Oh!

Corbin: Yeah, yeah. Generally speaking like alternative rock and uh, like sixties, seventies classic rock–it’s an enormous umbrella, but I think those are probably the two main sources that we draw from. Jazz itself is a little bit less of an influence.

Ryan: I think we all appreciate jazz. We’ve been playing it a little bit in various forms, you know, whatever. But I definitely don’t consider us a jazz band or myself a jazz musician. But I think it’s, I think it’s everything kinda influences too, though. So jazz may be a part of the creation of Geyser tunes, but I don’t think you can call us a jazz band by any measure. We do as a joke, maybe.

Jack: I feel like we all have a common ground and just like rock music in general. I feel like Ryan and Corbin have a lot of overlapping musical interests, but I’ve really enjoyed being around them and kind of learning about that, And especially in Ryan’s songwriting. And like, the kind of music that I had never had gotten into, so that’s been super fun. But yeah, I think there’s just the general overlapping rock music that we’re all pulling from that in different kinds. You know, I listened to a lot of like emotional hardcore rock music.

Andrew: Ooh, like what?

Jack: Like Green Day, and a band called The Felix Culpa, and La Dispute I liked a lot growing up.

Andrew: La Dispute! La Dispute are legends.

Jack: Oh yeah. MeWithoutYou is another big band for me. So yeah, I was really into the whiny, emotional rock music and then I met Ryan and the guys, I kinda really into Death Cab for Cutie, which I feel like we don’t say that name a lot but in a few of our newer songs I hear that influence a lot. I think the Death Cab vibe is there for sure.

Andrew: Oh, love Death Cab. Um, so yeah, Corbin and Ryan, was bonding over your shared love of music the catalyst for you guys then eventually going to play music together? Is that when you knew you guys would work well?

Corbin: Yeah, you know–you’ll actually, I think you’ll like this story, Andrew. Ryan and I first met I think in probably like late 2014, and as I’m sure you remember the world series that year was between–

Andrew: Royals and the Giants.

Corbin: And I grew up a Giants fan, Ryan grew up a Royals fan. And they played in the World Series, and there was an outcome. *laughs* And we met in Cafe Mac and initially started talking after Ryan asked me if I was a Giants fan. I said, “regretfully, yes I am.” Um, and then we got talking from there about music and then we got into some musical influences. Like I said, both big fans of The Beatles. I think REM would be shared influence as well. Radiohead…yeah, Death Cab for sure.

Ryan: That, that sounds pretty good. I appreciate you tiptoeing around sensitivity there. Well yeah, recently Corbin and I’ve been playing some duo shows. And we’ve kind of getting into some jazz, which is fun because jazz is just, it’s hard. It requires a lot of vulnerability, but that’s what brings people together. So I think it’s a good exercise. I think it’s good for musicians to improvise and to play with other people and to learn how to respond. So I think even if it doesn’t directly influence, Geyser songs, it’s just a good exercise for bandmates and friends. Yeah, we’re definitely all friends. It’s hard to play music with people you don’t like.

Corbin: And we all like each other.

Andrew: Awesome. Just as a quick tangent, between Corbin and Ryan, should the Royals have sent Alex Gordon around third base in Game Seven of the 2014 Series?

Ryan: Oh my god, of course not. He was going to be gunned down by Crawford who had the ball at deep short. He would have been dead. I’m not doing this. He absolutely should not have ran, that’s how it goes. Corbin would want him to go and have been out. And they would have won and that would have been it.

Corbin: In the spirit of band harmony, I will agree with Ryan.

Andrew: Oh man. The band breaking up over the big baseball “what if.’

Ryan: We do like baseball, though. Corbin and I, anyway.

Andrew: No, absolutely. The Royals got their series the next year, so y’all both–

Ryan: Aren’t you a Mets fan?

Andrew: I am a Mets fan. That was a tough, that was a tough series for the New York Mets to lose, but I’ll never forget the 2015 season. Like, that was the best sporting experience that I ever had. And I still look at it like as some of the best memories like of my youth was going to 12 games that summer and had the time of my life and like, you know the Royals deserved it. They were the better team.

Ryan: I appreciate that. It was a series for sure, so. I hope the Mets get back there soon.

Andrew: Appreciate that. We’re looking good right now. Anyway, let’s talk about your record. How was the process of recording that, and how did it all come about? Was it over a short burst of creativity, or were these songs that you’ve been working on for a long time? Or both?

Ryan: I engineered the basics of our record, like the drums and the bass a little bit of the guitar, and I’m not against arranging and writing in the studio but I really like the idea of a band harkening back to how music used to be recorded, being incredibly solid before they ever stepped foot in the recording studio. And I think that was totally our goal because we rehearsed all the time in the fall and long before we ever considered recording. We were just thinking a lot about our parts and the music on its own unrelated to recording. So I think that can have a lot of strength to the recording when you’re not focusing on fixing it in the computer, or maybe taking lots and lots and lots of time to stand in front of the microphones and try and try and try. Like, you already have it fully established before you start recording. So there wasn’t a whole lot, at least when the sessions I engineered, of “oh this burst of creativity, I have this idea right now.” We already had our parts but it was definitely a lot of fun recording for sure.

Jack: There were a couple of long sessions recording guitar and drums where I think we left the studio…one night was four, and then five, and then once I got home at eight in the morning after recording literally all night, which was exhausting, but it was a lot of fun. Because that’s when the free studio time is, you just go overnight. So we did that after work, just go to the studio. It was fun.

Andrew: What studio did you record at?

Jack: We recorded at Essential Sessions in Arden Hills where I was interning earlier in the year. And the way they worked out is that out of the way, after all the things during the day when the paid time was done, through the night and early morning we were allowed to record for free. So that is when we operated and stuff, and the drum set up, like I had never really worked like in a professional recording studio. So I was super giddy to implement everything I’d ever seen, which was like 17 microphones on the drum set. And so that took us a long time to set up and me and Ryan set that up four or five different times, all having to be torn down by like 8:00 AM, you know. So it was just a lot of long nights. And then I did that and then I went back home to Chicago and the rest of the it is still being finished with Reid Kruger at Waterbury Music in Minneapolis. And he’s mixing and mastering it as well.

Andrew: Is there an expected release date, or are we still waiting on that?

Ryan: The fall. I think it’d be nice to get it out by maybe Halloween-ish, but it always takes longer.

Andrew: Unilaterally, no matter who I’ve talked to, especially up and comers, the sentiment is the same. It’s so much harder to get music out there than you think.

Ryan: It’s a long process. Recording is one thing. And then you talk about distributing it and promoting it. It’s a lot.

Andrew: How does the distribution and promotion work for a band like you guys? Are you all pulling pretty much double duty as not just artists, but your own publisher and promoter? How does it work for somebody looking to get into the industry in that way?

Ryan: Well, it seems to me that record labels are less of a thing now, and you have to do a lot of DIY promotion. So I don’t think we’re really trying really hard to get on a label at this point. Just plugging it on social media and grinding and playing a bunch of shows, and then you’ll send, you know, records to radio stations and music reviewers you. I think at this point we’re trying not so much to get signed but just get a bunch of people to hear us.

Juliet: It’s a lot of shameless self promotion. I know definitely in the past when I’ve put out other music it’s a lot of getting over that, um, not embarrassment, but like you want to share it with everyone, you know? And it kind of feels it’s a little obnoxious to message, like everyone you know and be like “listen to my album!” But people actually get excited about that, you know, it’s kinda cool. And then when someone sent me a text like, “Hey, I just put out this music,” I’m like, “awesome, I want to go listen to it.” And that’s like a huge thing. Just word of mouth itself is really powerful for small bands especially.

Andrew: Oh, huge. I mean supporting people in your circle is humongousI feel very, very privileged to have met and known so many talented people. And so when somebody sends says, “Hey, i’ve got something out,” I’m like, “well, I’m excited to listen to it. Cause more often than not it’s really good. Are there any particular other artists, in your circles that you’re big fans of and that other listeners should look out for in addition to Geyser?

Ryan: There’s a band called Last Import from Minneapolis that I really admire.

Andrew: They’re great. Really good surf rock.

Ryan: Yeah, they’re a lot of fun. They’re working on stuff right now, touring around. I really like them a lot. They have really good, really good writing. Just, I don’t know, they’re just really fun to listen to and there’s something about it that’s really catchy to me, but it’s kinda hard to put my finger on it. But they have a lot of energy, I like them a lot.

Corbin: Check out the Kelson Twins.

Juliet: That’s my other band.

Andrew: So with the album expected to come out in the fall, are there any particular favorites that each of you have on the record? Favorite songs? Favorite musical moments?

Juliet: I’m really excited about “Grace.” We added more things. We usually don’t play with strings but we added that to that song, and it’s really fleshed out and really nice.

Jack: I like the song “Fish out of Water” a lot. I think that’s a bop and I think it will do well. I hope so. I think it’s really good song. And I also like, personally, a high moment for me, I like the part that I wrote for the song called. “Whale Song” A lot. I feel like there’s a lot of like creativity and pushing myself in writing that and I enjoyed it a lot.

Ryan: One of the more interesting ones for me is a song called “Surfin'” because it took maybe two or three years for it to evolve and, having played it in different projects, and we did a lot of editing and arranging in the rehearsal room, In staying up til 4:00 with a bunch of different guitar pedals to try to find the right sound. So it’s just been through the wash so many times that every time I hear it’s still just really interesting to me. And everybody kind of collaborated on that in a really cool way. So I’d probably go with “Surfin'” for that one.

Juliet: There’s a lot of really cool parts to that song, not like specific instruments necessarily, but just going from different sections, it evolves a lot throughout the track. It’s a really cool one.

Corbin: I personally am excited to settle on in order for the track because we have definitely got a set list that we play basically the same every single time we perform. So I have the order I imagine the songs in for playing live, and I think it’s probably gonna be different from the order that we actually put them in on the record. So I’m looking forward to seeing that.

Andrew: Going off of that, how do you guys find yourselves going from the studio to playing live? Cause you said earlier you guys rehearse like maniacs to get everything really tight, and so that must translate on the live stage very well, I’m assuming.

Corbin: Yeah, hopefully. I wouldn’t say there’s a dramatic difference between our live recording and what you’ll hear on the record. We’re not like the Grateful Dead or something where we have like some extended jam session for 10 minutes. So I think that a lot of the magic of the live performance is responding to the audience and the audience responding to you. And so that circle of energy that comes through. Even if we’re playing the same notes generally speaking, Jack and I will lock in on a groove and just, there’s like an energy that kind of passes through the room. I think that even if you are in the audience and you know nothing about music I think you’ll feel that. And I think that will translate on the record but in a different way, where you’re not quite in the room, and it doesn’t feel perhaps as raw.

Juliet: I think something really cool for me too is like, we rehearsed in these like little college rehearsal rooms where the sound is really trapped in that room and bouncing around and we’re all wearing earplugs…and then to go from that into the studio where you can hear each isolated track through headphones really clear, you can experience everyone’s individual parts more, and I just noticed things that I didn’t hear while we were rehearsing that really surprised me.

Jack: Yeah, I definitely came to appreciate everybody’s part a lot more in the studio. And I feel that live, we hadn’t played together like six months and then we played in Chicago two nights ago and it was just burning. There was just so much energy and it was really fun. I feel like it was pent up for us not having played together for a while and then we played in a venue in Chicago and yeah, all the songs are pretty fast, and I feel like they’re even a little faster when we play live and that adds some energy to it which is super fun. Like them being really fast, like rock burning songs. I personally feel a lot of emotional intensity when I play live for that reason.

Andrew: Oh, I’m with you. I hear that as well.

Corbin: Also probably something worth mentioning too is that when we perform live, we sing usually in three part harmony. And I feel like that’s something that really sets us apart from a lot of other bands out there.

Andrew: Oh my God. Yeah, three part harmonies. Seriously. They’re so under utilized in music right now. The only band that I think of that does that is Ball Park Music in Australia, and they do it super well. And that’s why I keep telling people to check them out because they’re not super well known in the States quite yet. But they are one of my favorite bands on earth, and three part harmonies are a big reason why. So I’m very happy to hear that you guys are utilizing one of, I think, the coolest conventions in music in your modern, ur mind and rock songs. Cause I think it’s something that suits it really well and, and you’re right, it’s not as common as it should be.

Juliet: That’s really nice for me too growing up, I listened to a lot of bluegrass and country, singer/songwriter kind of stuff. And I have a twin sister and my mom, we would just sing three part harmony around the house. And then going from that and being like, “Oh, I’m gonna play in a rock band,” but still being able to keep that harmony which is just something–it just feels good to sing in harmony with other people. Like there’s, a physical feeling about it that’s great. And that’s good. Like that we’re doing that in a different genre where you don’t hear it typically as much.

Andrew: Right. Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. Um, so you guys have played shows…you played Chicago, Minneapolis, and are on a little mini tour right now at the end of summer. Is there anything we can look forward to going forward into the fall? Any live performances on the docket, or are you waiting until the album drops?

Ryan: Well, we’re trying to do a couple small acoustic things going forward. I don’t think we’re gonna play as a full band in this particular arrangement for a little bit. But uh, yeah, it’s kind of fun to go from playing the full four-piece to playing an acoustic coffee shop. It has a different feel for sure.

Andrew: And that’s going to be in and around the Twin Cities?

Ryan: Yeah. There’s some cool coffee shops. Dunn Bros is a place we always come back to for a little stripped down thing. It’s very low key, kind of fun to get out of the spotlight a little bit and to experiment.

Andrew: You guys played Acadia, right?

Corbin: Yeah, playing there tonight actually.

Andrew: Oh hey! Yeah, I love that place. It’s one of my favorite bars in the entire metro area. It’s happened to me multiple times where I’ve even just been walking by and heard a band, and you know, came in the door just to listen. And so hopefully there’ll be people walking by tonight that’ll be converted Geyser fans by the time they go home.

Ryan: That’s the dream right there, yeah.

Andrew: Yeah. Awesome. Well I wanna thank you guys so much for sitting down with me. This was awesome.

Corbin: Of course! We’re glad we got to chat with you. Thank you man.

Andrew: Yeah, and look forward to the album dropping, they’re called Geyser. We can, I’m assuming, find them on all the typical platforms once it comes out?

Ryan: Yes indeed. That’s the plan.

Andrew: Wonderful. And the record’s name?

Ryan: What a good question. We’ve got a couple options, but I don’t think we’ve settled on one yet.

Andrew: Word. Do you want to share them with us?

Ryan: Yeah. It might be called Cover Your Eyes. Maybe Fish out of Water was a thing at some point, I don’t know. It could be Geyser Presents: Geyser.

Juliet: We could name all our albums after famous geysers. Old Faithful…

Andrew: Old Faithful, I can’t think of any other geysers. I feel like that’s the one geyser that’s super well known.

Corbin: Regardless, we will let you know the title.

Jack: If anyone has suggestions to what we should name our record…

Andrew: Yeah. Please do. If anyone listening to this has any comments, any suggestions…Geyser’s DM’s are open, guys. On instagram, what is it– @geysertheband?

Ryan: Yeah. @geysertheband on Instagram. We have a Gmail account that’s, because geysermusicband and geysermusicband1 were somehow taken.

Andrew: Send your suggestions to Awesome. And you can find that album in the fall on all the typical platforms. Guys, thanks so much.

Corbin: Thank you, Andrew.

Ryan: Thank you.

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